John Muir


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July 10, 1896. Fountain G Hotel. Marvellous abundance of Geysers seen today and yesterday and hot springs and half geysers. The woods are full of ‘em, some throwing up a few drops several times a minute, others a few tons, or 100 tons of boiling water, an hour, or day or year. Some boiling calmly, others violently, some calm always sending up steam. The view of Upper basin very striking in columns and clouds of white vapor with occasional eruption tossing crystal drops and arrowy masses of white a 100 ft into the blue air. One - Excelsior- floods the T Hole River and makes it too hot for fording. The Faithful, 100 to 150 ft h, rises in arrow shaped masses, steam outside, spray of crystal drops on top shining, the dark woods beyond showing dim through them and the thinnest veils of vapor. The dance at night in moonlight most impressive, the sound, etc., and dim woods. Keen clash of falling drops and plashes on sinter pavement. Lovely colors pale green and pearl to rich purples, reds and yellows, all dependent upon algae wh die if water grows cold and if too hot above 185. The geysers known by the algae growth, the sinter growing glaring white when free of vegetation. The pools of lovely hues, turquoise, emerald, sapphire, with edge of keenest ultramarine. Some boil violently when a pebble is cast in destroying equilibrium. Murrayana at the Geyser Hotel 224 yrs old 8 in dia. First inch 100 yrs. Murray in woods all about the same age 172 some 4 in dia to 8 or 9. Thus long fire has spared it. A tree 200 yrs old in such woods has only a mere tuft or two on top, no more leaves than a sapling of ½ doz yrs, stems naked, a forest of telegraph poles. Bears come to hotels every night about sunset for grub, all black.

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Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 14.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist